Saturday, August 20, 2011

why do anti-racists like this cartoon?

It's by Barry Deutsch of Amptoons fame. I think it has a lot of truth in what it says about rich white conservatives, but the last panel hints at something that should make anti-racists wince: their philosophy doesn't offer any help to poor blacks either.

Anti-racists aren't in favor reparations, perhaps because reparations raise the next question: if generational poverty applies to one group, why doesn't it apply to all?

They're not in favor of redistributing wealth—that would be communism, and anti-racists tend to be rich folks whose idea of justice preserves the privileges of the upper classes, but seeks to make the class system racially proportionate.

So, what am I missing?

Hmm. I may see the answer: the cartoon assumes all white people got ahead thanks to blacks being in slavery. It omits the Africans who sold slaves and the black Americans who became slave owners. It leaves out the poor whites who were also used by the rich in their efforts to become richer. So anti-racists may like this because the first panel reinforces their world view, and the question that the last panel raises for me slips past them entirely.

Still, if anyone can tell me what anti-racism offers as a solution to black poverty, I'd be grateful.


  1. Well, for a start, people who like that cartoon have poor taste in cartoons. He sets up a six-panel grid and wastes the whole second panel on redundant visual information which is conveyed by the third and fourth panels as well...then cheats and sticks a seventh panel into the sixth panel merely so he can give us a nearly superfluous second punchline. Redesigning it as a seven panel layout would have worked; better still, removing one or the other superfluous panel would have helped the pacing as well.

  2. Good point. I'm guessing he was influenced by Tom Toles and didn't copy him well enough. Afterthought jokes should be tiny, as if they were squeezed in at the last possible moment.

  3. I think the redundant panels are valuable to provide pacing 'and then this went on for a long time' yielding an abruptness to the final panel.

    I'm no deep theorist of comics, that's just how it feels to me.